Category Archives: Lifestyles

Opportunity

by Bryan Golden

“Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.”
- Thomas A. Edison

“Don’t wait for extraordinary opportunities. Seize common occasions and make them great.
Weak men wait for opportunities; strong men make them.”
- Orison Swett Marden

Opportunity is sought by virtually everyone. People flock to the US from all over the world in search of abundant opportunity. In our great country, there is more opportunity than anywhere else. Yet many of those who are born here don’t fully appreciate all of the opportunities that surround them each and every day.

There are a couple of misconceptions about opportunity that are unfortunately embraced by too many. One fallacy is “opportunity only knocks once.” Another is that you have to wait for your ship to come in.

The reality is, opportunity exists everywhere. There are new opportunities daily. Waiting for your ship to come in is comparable to playing the lottery; a miniscule percentage of people have a ship that comes in, whereas the vast majority sits at an empty port.

The key to finding opportunity is swimming out and locating your ship. The two essential elements are searching while being proactive. You will never find opportunity if you don’t look for it. You will never benefit from opportunity unless you work at it.

The essence of opportunity exists within you. It begins with the control you have over your destiny. You decide what you think about. Your thoughts shape your reality. What you believe to be possible is doable. Whatever you think is impossible will never happen.

After your thoughts, what happens to you is influenced by your behavior. You can have the greatest mindset, but without appropriate action, nothing will materialize. Thoughts without action are fruitless.

Since you have the opportunity to control your thoughts and action, you have the opportunity to make changes to your life. At any time, you can decide to make a change, and then take the necessary steps to do so.

You have the opportunity to make decisions. You can say yes or no. If you make a bad decision, you have the opportunity to make another one. You always have the opportunity to improve your circumstances.

You have the opportunity to control your emotions. You don’t have to give others the power to push your buttons. It’s not necessary to get upset or angry. You are not obligated to fight or argue. You control how you react to your environment.

You have the opportunity to select the occupation that best suits you. If you don’t like a particular job, you can get another. If you need more money, you can secure a better paying job. If you don’t like being an employee, you can start your own business.

You have the opportunity to get an education. At any age, at any time, you can acquire whatever information you desire. From learning a new skill, to earning a degree, you just have to make the effort, and the knowledge is yours.

You have unlimited opportunity. You can accomplish anything you want to. Realizing opportunity takes effort. If you chose the path of least resistance, which is often the path of least work, opportunity will constantly elude you.

Don’t wait for opportunity. Time goes by all too rapidly. Search for, find, and seize opportunity. Do what it takes to turn opportunity into reality. You have the opportunity to fail and the opportunity to succeed. The choice is yours.
NOW AVAILABLE: “Dare to Live Without Limits,” the book. Visit www.BryanGolden.com or your bookstore. Bryan is a management consultant, motivational speaker, author, and adjunct professor. E-mail Bryan at bryan@columnist.com or write him c/o this paper. 2006 Bryan Golden

Who You Are, Not What You Have

It’s common for people to measure what they’ve accomplished by what they have accumulated. Often a person is eager to show off how much they make, what they are worth, or what they own. They erroneously believe their financial status is impressive.

Although it’s true money comes as a result of service to others, how much you accumulate is not a measure of who you are. Who you are is determined by how you treat others, regardless of your financial standing.
When you pass on, your legacy is not the assets you leave behind but rather how many lives you have positively impacted. Many millionaires have been despised. Conversely, those of modest means have been admired by all who knew them.

This is not to say that money is bad or lack of it is good. The fundamental issue is how you live. Who you are isn’t related to what you have. You don’t need a lot of possessions to be a great person.
It’s not important how much money you make if you discredit your character to obtain it. When you compromise your ethics, no amount of wealth can compensate for your loss. Once your integrity is tainted, it is virtually impossible to restore it.

The size of your house is not as important as how many people you welcome into it. A big house may be a sign of financial status. Yet size does not equate to warmth. A huge house can feel lifeless. A shack can feel cheery. You make the difference by how you treat visitors. Make them feel welcome, and your house is transformed into a home. When a guest feels like an intruder, a dwelling is no more than a collection of construction materials. It’s that simple.

How many people you befriend is more significant than how many friends you have. The distinction between friends and acquaintances is frequently blurred. Merely knowing someone doesn’t make him or her a friend. People who associate with you because of what you have, aren’t friends. Should your financial standing diminish, they will flee.

When you are a true friend to another, there is a good chance you will have a friend in return. Even if the other person doesn’t respond in kind, you shouldn’t be bitter. A sincere person doesn’t act in the hope of a payback. They get genuine satisfaction from assisting whenever possible, without any desire for reward.
How you treat your neighbors is more important than the neighborhood you live in. What’s the point of living in a fancy gated community where no one speaks to each other? A true neighborhood exists only when the residents behave neighborly.

Being a good neighbor begins with a smile along with a friendly greeting. In the days of the pioneers, your neighbors were essential to your survival. Today, you don’t have the same dependency on those who live around you. But you can still be friendly.

Working to the best of your ability is more important than the title of your job. Being the best at what you do, regardless of your occupation, is the surest way to get a promotion. Even if you have reached a dead-end at your current job, opportunity awaits you elsewhere. Being the best is something you will carry with you wherever you go.

The content of your character is more important than the content of your bank account. In the long, and short run, it is how you are known and remembered.

NOW AVAILABLE: “Dare to Live Without Limits,” the book. Visit www.BryanGolden.com or your bookstore. Bryan is a management consultant, motivational speaker, author, and adjunct professor. E-mail Bryan at bryan@columnist.com or write him c/o this paper. 2006 Bryan Golden

Competition

by Bryan Golden

Is competition good or bad? Are you in competition with other people? Is it OK to do whatever it takes to win? Is winning of paramount importance? How are winners determined? Understanding the answers to these questions is essential to have a satisfying life.

Competition can be either good or bad, depending on the situation. In sports, competition between teams is good. Within each team, cooperation between the players is essential for peak performance. Competition among businesses creates innovation that benefits consumers. However, a company whose employees are just out for themselves will falter.

Competition on an individual basis is great, when appropriate. On a personal level, you seek to be the best you can be. In an educational environment, each student can strive for an “A” without having a negative impact on anyone else. In a business, each employee can endeavor to do the best possible job and everyone benefits.

Healthy competition compels self-improvement. A competitive environment fosters innovation. Competition motivates people to excel, pushing them beyond self-imposed limitations. Competition provides an incentive to work hard. Without competition, there are no rewards.

Historically, countries that have sought to eliminate competition have failed miserably. In a free society, everyone has the opportunity to compete. They also have the freedom not to. But it’s the competitors who reap the most from life.

Competition is bad when it is self-serving, to the detriment of others. Competition is good when it doesn’t undermine anyone. Competition to get ahead by excelling is good. Attempting to advance through unethical or underhanded tactics is bad.

The best competitors compete with themselves to continually improve. They don’t measure their progress by comparing themselves to others. They consistently try to do better then they have. They understand that there is always room for improvement, however slight.

Although it may seem as if you are competing with others, you are actually competing with yourself. If you are not maximizing your potential, not developing your capabilities, you are cheating yourself.

It’s not OK to do whatever it takes to win. If you win by stepping on others, any victories will be short lived. When your strategy involves tripping others, you will inevitably harm yourself. A victory won through nefarious means is no victory at all.

The news regularly has stories of athletes attempting to excel through the use of performance enhancing drugs. When caught, these people become disgraced and may even be banned from their sport.

Companies that deceive their stockholders and cheat their customers never rise to greatness. Employees who get promoted by back stabbing their coworkers invariably stumble and fall. Dishonesty may produce temporary gains, but the long-term results are disastrous.

Winning over someone else is not the goal. You don’t need to compare yourself to others in order to determine your level of success. You don’t have to be better, smarter, or wealthier to be happy.

Real winners are happy, content, and appreciative with their life. They compete with themselves by consistently growing. They are always competing in a positive fashion and never rest on their laurels.

You are your main competition, not someone else. Your objective is to keep developing rather than trying to be better than another person. Winners of races train to go as fast as they can. During a race, they look forward at the finish line, not behind them to see if anyone is catching up.

Are you a competitor or are you sitting on the sidelines? It’s never too late to jump on to the field. Do your best, keep improving, stay motivated, and you will always be in the front of the pack.

NOW AVAILABLE: “Dare to Live Without Limits,” the book. Visit www.BryanGolden.com or your bookstore. Bryan is a management consultant, motivational speaker, author, and adjunct professor. E-mail Bryan at bryan@columnist.com or write him c/o this paper. 2006 Bryan Golden